2018 Literary Burlesque Uncorseted: It's Not What It Seams
Saturday • May 19 • 7pm • The Black Box Theatre at The Palm
A review by Art Goodtimes of the 2016 show “Oh Sister, Where Art Thou?" noted: “It’s so very good. I was teased, tantalized, thumped and thoroughly rattled. Hysterical with laughter. Close to tears. On the edge of a canyon and deep in the incredible world of the feminine.” Witness this year's stirring performance by the morphing troupe of eight regional women who will drop layers, both literal and literary.
The 2018 show is titled Uncorseted: It's Not What It Seams. This year marks the 100-year anniversary of Armistice. Why not celebrate the occasion by heralding the unsung heroines of World War I, the women who unbound themselves from the societal strictures and constraints during the 1914-1918 era.
Our point of inquiry, “Where did the suffragettes go?” lead us to discover women who defied convention, employing their voices, their bodies, and their bicycles to break the silence, ignore barriers, and reimagine the future. These are women who met fire and fury on horseback, who stormed the skies, faced firing squads, and lead the way to a better future in mad, glorious brilliance.
New this year, the Burl Gurls collaborated with regional designers to create custom corsets for the shedding. Those visionary partners were: Kellie Day, Ann Dettmer, MonkE Hazen, Buff Hooper, Lisa Issenberg, Meghann McCormick, Luci Reeve, and Jill Rikkers.
We have come a long way, baby, but as the show's finale will reflect ... there’s further to go!
Tickets are $20 and are available at Between the Covers Bookstore. Pop in or call 970-728-4504 to transact by phone. Do note, this show ALWAYS SELLS OUT so don't delay!
KIERSTIN BRIDGER Kierstin is a Colorado writer who divides her time between Ridgway and Telluride. She is the author of two books: Women Writing the West's 2017 WILLA Award winning Demimonde (Lithic Press) and All Ember (Urban Farmhouse Press). She is a winner of the Mark Fischer Poetry Prize, the 2015 ACC Writer’s Studio award, a silver Charter Oak Best Historical Award, and an Anne LaBastille Poetry Residency. She was short-listed for the Manchester Poetry Competition in the UK. She is editor of Ridgway Alley Poems and Co-Director of Open Bard Poetry Series. She earned her MFA at Pacific University. (kierstinbridger.com) Kierstin cannot believe her luck that her friend, the incredible and celebrated artist Ann Dettmer, created her corset.
Kierstin’s character, Margret Tobin Brown AKA The “Unsinkable Molly Brown,” was born in Missouri in 1867 and was in her own words, a daughter of adventure. She was a human-rights activist, philanthropist, and actress who survived the sinking of the RMS Titanic and aided the survivors in numerous ways including fundraising and advocacy. Brown was involved in the early feminist movement in Leadville and aided the establishment of the Colorado chapter of the National American Women's Suffrage Association. She was a founding member of the Denver Woman's Club and raised funds to build the Cathedral of Immaculate Conception as well as St Joseph's Hospital by the turn of the century. She ran for US senate in 1914 (six years before the 19th amendment was passed) championing workers' rights and the creation of a juvenile justice system in Denver. In the year of her death, 1932, she was awarded the French Legion of Honor Award for her relief work in WWI. Kierstin is awed by her many acts of humanitarianism, including translating Mark Twain’s works into Braille and helping blinded soldiers learn to read them.
SAMANTHA TISDEL WRIGHT Independent journalist and poet Samantha Tisdel Wright writes from the heart of the San Juan Mountains in Silverton, Colorado. Her work has appeared in a variety of publications throughout the region, and she has won numerous awards for her writing, including the Sigma Delta Chi Award for Excellence in Journalism from the Society of Professional Journalists. This is Samantha’s third time participating in the delicious madness that is the Telluride Literary Burlesque. Her corset designer is Luci Reeve.
Samantha's character is Inez Milholland Boissevain (August 6, 1886 – November 25, 1916). She was a suffragist, labor lawyer, WWI correspondent, pacifist and public speaker who greatly influenced the women's movement in America. She had classic good looks and a powerful personality. The press idolized her and dubbed her “The Most Beautiful Suffragette.” In 1913, she led the Woman’s Suffrage Procession in Washington, DC, dressed in a long white cape and riding a white horse named Gray Dawn. She died of pernicious anemia in Los Angeles, California, while campaigning for women’s rights. Her last public words were, "Mr. President, how long must women wait for liberty?"
CORINNE PLATT Corinne lives and works from her home in Ophir, where she serves as Mayor. Her book, Voices of the American West, won the 2010 Colorado Book Award for nonfiction. Her poems are unpublished. She is studying to be a dream practitioner and looks forward to making her debut with Rosemerry in a dream/poetry workshop this June. She is supremely grateful to Margaret Sanger for a long life of freedom and choice. Corinne is thrilled to wear a piece of art created by longtime friends—Lisa Issenberg and Jill Rikkers—both celebrated metal artists creating everything from jewelry and large-scale architectural installations to a line of metal serving pieces.
Corinne’s character is Margaret Sanger, our mother of birth control, She could be called the most important women of our time. In October of 1916, activist, mother, wife, writer, nurse and lover, Sanger opened the first birth control clinic in the United States. In 1917, she went on trial in New York for distributing birth control information and devices. Her dedication and devotion to the birth control movement—including smuggling in diaphragms from the Netherlands—landed her in jail multiple times. When faced with charges of obscenity for explaining birth control in a magazine, she founded the Woman Rebel, to disseminate information to women. In January 2017, President Trump signed an executive order barring federal funds from organizations that provide birth control and abortion services, including the International Planned Parenthood Federation.
ERIKA MOSS GORDON Erika lives in Ridgway, where she writes poetry, works for a film festival, teaches yoga, plays music with her lover and resists daily the current administration with all her might. Erika’s writing has appeared in Mountain Gazette Magazine, Fungi Magazine, Telluride Watch, Telluride Magazine, Telluride Inside and Out, Grand Junction Daily Sentinel, Salmonberry Arts and 99 Poems for the 99 Percent, a collection of poetry. Her most recent book, Phases, was winner of the Fledge Chapbook Award, published by Middle Creek Publishing in 2016. Her first chapbook, Of Eyes and Iris, was published in 2013 (Liquid Light Press). She now fantasizes about building “corsets” out of recycled materials with local artists Kellie Day and MonkE Hazen as a questionably lucrative side project.
Erika’s character is nameless … I live in a tenement house in the city. Life is a never-ending cycle of work, trying to keep the children clean, the food clean, and myself clean. I empty the chamber pot from under the children’s bed. I pull the cockroach from a jar of dried beans. Sometimes I get paid work if my husband cannot bring in enough money. Those times, I bend over a sewing machine for five cents an hour, 10 hours a day, in a room with no ventilation. Our tenement houses sweatshop workers, construction men, seamstresses, saloonkeepers, laundresses and street sweepers. Upstairs from me, lives a palm reader who recently arrived from Europe and practices her charms. I requested her council when my daughter fell ill with smallpox, but it was too late. All I want is a vehicle to freedom.
ROSEMERRY WAHTOLA TROMMER Rosemerry is a collaboration junkie, a poetry devotee and a glass-is-overfull kind of gal. She has 11 collections of poetry, most recently Naked for Tea, a finalist for the Able Muse Book Award. She served as the third Colorado Western Slope Poet Laureate (2015-2017) and is poetry editor for the gourmet magazine Edible Southwest. She teaches poetry for 12-step recovery programs, hospice, mindfulness retreats, women’s retreats and more. Her mantra: Adjust. (www.wordwoman.com) She was delighted to work—in collaboration—with Meghann McCormick. The Burl Gurls are some of her favorite people on the planet.
Rosemerry’s character is Anna Akhmatova. Born Anna Gorenko in 1889, her family told her that she could not use the family name because it would shame them. She was well respected as a poet in Russia’s “Silver Age,” but after the Bolshevik Revolution, she was censored, labeled irrelevant to communism, and not allowed to publish for decades. Restricted, her voice grew stronger. Her most famous poem, Requiem, tells the terrors of the Stalinist regime. Though she suffered greatly, she never regretted her decision to stay in her beloved Russia.
DAIVA CHESONIS Daiva is a former Baltimoron, transplanted to Colorado half her life ago to build Telluride’s gondola transportation system. Although birthing chairlifts was not part of her initial goal after a Cold War-era B.A. in Russian Studies, she quickly decided to bed down in the box canyon to see what would unfold. A quarter century later, she is the co-owner of Between the Covers Bookstore with former stints as snowboard instructor, owner/operator of Vision Design, Art Director at Telluride Magazine, founder and 5-year director of the Telluride AIDS Benefit Fashion Show, and a traveling minstrel for Mountainfilm on Tour. In 2005, she earned an M.A. in Diplomacy and International Conflict Resolution, mostly for fun. In her spare time, this proud mom of one can be found writing and performing poetry, putting on the Telluride Literary Arts Festival, and wandering local forests on the hunt for mushrooms. Having recently moved to the edge of the high desert above Naturita Creek in Norwood, she’s also a passionate pro at finding herself lost in the near-beyond canyons.
Daiva’s character is nameless. Inspired by quotes from three feisty women of the late 1800s, tonight’s silent film interludes represent the measure of independence that women gained by taking on the challenge—and dare we say perversity—of riding bicycles. Not only was a newfound freedom to get around discovered but also the undoing of all those layers of clothing that just did not work with the “wind in my hair” aspect of two-wheeled liberation. She aspires to be tonight’s comic relief. A tall order, even after watching countless hours of overly expressive silent film stars on YouTube.
ELLEN METRICK After abandoning three hometowns, Ellen settled 15 years ago in Norwood where she teaches, parents, writes, reads, loves, and explores. She has two chapbooks--Poetisattva and Teasing out the Divine—and has been editor of and published in a number of online, on-air, and print journals. This is her fifth year with Literary Burlesque. Ellen's corset was created by local artist Buff Hooper.
Ellen’s character is Mata Hari. After her father, her first lover, and then her husband consecutively abandoned her (and after her husband took their daughter away), Dutch-born Mata Hari moved to Paris to recreate herself in the early 1900s as an exotic dancer and courtesan. She had little voice. What we know of her is mostly from others, and in the psychological view of the time, her freedom and her interest in men labelled her “depraved” and criminal, leading eventually to her death by firing squad in 1917 for alleged espionage against France. Because for a woman to have enjoyed sex, she naturally is also capable of other highly criminal—and punishable—acts. Inscribed inside Ellen’s corset are the names of heroic women from Mata Hari's era who were also killed by firing squad, often on inflated or even fictional charges.
ELISSA DICKSON Elissa cultivated a love of slam poetry as an undergrad at the University of Michigan and continued to pursue it when she moved to Telluride in 2008. Currently serving as the San Miguel County Poet Laureate, she loves both teaching and performing. She also spreads her passion for learning and creativity in her working roles as Adult Programs Coordinator at the Wilkinson Public Library and Tour Emcee with Mountainfilm. In her free time, she enjoys performing with Telluride Theatre, the Telluride Dance Collective, and the Telluride Aids Benefit. She is also an avid mountain biker, rock and ice climber, rafter, skier and hula hooper. When she grows up, she hopes to be a river otter.
Elissa’s character is Marie Marving (February 20, 1875 – December 14, 1963). Known as “La fiancée du danger” (the bride of danger), Marie was a French athlete and aviator. She won numerous prizes for her sporting achievements, in swimming, cycling, mountaineering, ballooning, flying, riding, gymnastics, rifle shooting, fencing, boxing, and martial arts. She was the first woman to climb many of the peaks in the French and Swiss Alps and in 1905, became the first Frenchwoman to swim the entire length of the Seine through Paris. The newspapers nicknamed her "L'amphibie rouge" (the red amphibian), from the color of her swimming costume. During World War I, she became the first woman to fly missions during conflict as a pilot, her first bombing was a notable attack on Metz in 1915. Also a qualified surgical nurse, she was the first trained and certified Flight Nurse in the world. In addition, she pioneered “L’aviation Sanitaire”, the first air ambulance services in the world.
Create your own unique website with customizable templates.